Vanilla Chestnut Waffles

“And in the morning, I’m making waffles!” ~ Donkey, from Shrek.

Never have wiser words been spoken! I mean really, have you ever heard of anyone who doesn’t like waffles?
Well today’s recipe is a real treat, and a little bit of a food journey when it comes to my inspiration behind it.

It was 2016 and we had spent the last few weeks travelling from Venice, to Milan, then down the Ligurian coast to Florence and finally winding up in Rome.
We were staying in the outer suburbs of Rome in a lovely apartment, hosted by the most beautiful lady called Ostensia.

Due to the location of our apartment, we were travelling in and out of Rome via a tram route that took us past many different street markets. It was during this travel one day, that we decided to hop off the tram and explore the market that sprawled across many laneways and streets.

We wandered the tightly packed market, perusing the local delicacies and various market offerings. After a few hours, the midday sun started to swelter and the sticky heat of Rome really started to kick in. We made our way to a little cafe and sat down with a group of locals. I noticed they each had little cups of what appeared to be coffee granita and were spooning them up with little biscotti type biscuits. I knew I had to try it.

I ordered the caffe granita and enquired as to whether the biscotti were ‘senza glutine’. They sadly shook their head and said ‘no’, but pointed me to a large jar of biscuits that were ‘senza glutine’. I accepted this alternative and took my granita and biscuits back to the table. Making like the locals, I used the biscuit to scoop up the granita and quickly devoured it. It was amazing. The biscuits were almost savoury, with only a hint of a sweet note. I don’t know what they were made with, but they reminded me of the savoury, sweet note of roasted chestnuts. (You see what I mean when I say this recipe is quite a journey away from it’s true origins).

Fast forward to now, we are back in Australia, and well, I am a little too lazy to be making granita regularly. But there is something about the texture of a crunchy outside, with a smooth, slightly chewy centre, that walks the line between sweet and slightly savoury that I can’t quite get enough of. So, when I found chestnut flour in one of our local deli’s, my mind started racing with possibilities.

One of the first recipes I trialed was a gluten free, chestnut pizzelle. The flavour hinted at my granita and biscotti memories; sweet, yet slightly savoury. Perfect to dunk in coffee.
From here, I thought, how can I create something that is crunchy like this, yet also a little chewy and delicious on the inside?
It wasn’t until I decided to break in our waffle maker and experiment with a gluten free waffle recipe that the idea started to brew.
What if I substituted portions of the flour blends with chestnut flour…

Long story short, Vanilla Chestnut Waffles were born and life has been that little bit ‘sweeter’ ever since!

The batter crisps up beautifully on the outside, with the chestnut flour giving a deliciously sweet and savoury tone and a slightly chewy texture.
Heaven on a plate!

VANILLA CHESTNUT WAFFLES
Ingredients:

4 eggs
3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
3/4 cup chestnut flour
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
3/4 cup milk
3 tsp vanilla

Method:
1. Throw all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until a smooth batter has formed.
2. Cover batter and set aside, leaving it to rest for 30 minutes.
3. After 30 minutes, grease your waffle iron and heat until nice and hot.
4. Give the rested batter a quick mix, then using a small jug or measuring cup, pour mixture on the heated waffle iron (amounts will vary depending on the size of the waffle iron), close and cook on each side for a couple of minutes (Cook times will also vary, depending on the waffle iron and the heat it conducts – mine took between 2 and 3 minutes each side, using a waffle iron that you place directly on the stove top).

I love to serve mine with a smothering of pistachio spread, drizzled with maple syrup and topped with fresh berries and vanilla infused coconut yoghurt.

Another favourite topping is caramelised peaches, with mixed spice and a squeeze of lemon, topped off with a dollop of coconut yoghurt.

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